Nick Donofrio | Executive Vice President (Ret.), Innovation and Technology at IBM

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Thaught Leader Series with Kenan Patrick Jarboe & Nicholas M. Donofrio

Nick Donofrio is a 44-year IBM veteran who led IBM’s technology and innovation strategies from 1997 until his retirement in October 2008. Nick was also vice chairman of the IBM International Foundation and chairman of the Board of Governors for the IBM Academy of Technology. Nick’s most recent responsibilities included IBM Research, Governmental Programs, Technical Support & Quality, Corporate Community Relations, as well as Environmental Health & Product Safety. Also reporting to Nick were the senior executives responsible for IBM’s enterprise on demand transformation. In addition to the strategic business mission, Nick led the development and retention of IBM’s technical population and enriched that community with a diversity of culture and thought. In 2008, IBM Chairman, Sam Palmisano elected Nick as an IBM Fellow, the company’s highest technical honor.

Nick joined IBM as a college co-op student in 1964 and worked on the memory technology for the legendary IBM System/360 mainframe computing system. After being hired full time at IBM in 1967, he spent the early part of his career in integrated circuit and chip development as a designer of logic and memory chips. He held numerous technical management positions, and thereafter, executive positions in several of IBM’s product divisions. Nick has led many of IBM’s major development and manufacturing teams – from semiconductor and storage technologies, to microprocessors and personal computers, to IBM’s entire family of servers.

Nick earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1967 and a Master of Science in the same discipline from Syracuse University in 1971. In 1999, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in Engineering from Polytechnic University, and in 2002 he received an honorary doctorate in Sciences from the University of Warwick in England. In 2005, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in Technology from Marist College and in 2006, he received an honorary doctorate in Sciences from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Pace University awarded him an honorary doctorate in Sciences in 2009, and the National University of Ireland, Maynooth awarded him an honorary doctorate in Sciences in 2010. Lastly, Syracuse University awarded him an honorary doctorate in Sciences in 2011.

Nick is sharply focused on advancing education, employment and career opportunities for underrepresented minorities and women. He served for many years on the Board of Directors for the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) and was NACME’s Board chair from 1997 through 2002. He also served for several years on the Board of Directors for INROADS, a non-profit organization focused on the training and development of talented minority youth for professional careers in business and industry. Nick is presently co-chair of the New York Hall of Science.

In 2005, Nick was appointed by the U.S. Department of Education to serve on the Commission on the Future of Higher Education.  This Commission is a 20-member delegation of business and university leaders charged with developing a new national strategy for post-secondary education that will meet the needs of Americas diverse population, and also address the economic and workforce needs of the country’s future.

Nick is the holder of seven technology patents and is a member of numerous technical and science honor societies. He is a Fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers; a Fellow of the U.K.-based Royal Academy of Engineering; a member of the U.S.-based National Academy of Engineering; a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; a member of the Board of Directors for the Bank of New York/Mellon; a member of the Republic of China’s Science and Technology Advisory Group Board (2008-2011); a member of the Board of Trustees at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from 1993-2013; a member of the Board of Directors of Liberty Mutual; a member of the Board of Directors of AMD; a member of the Board of Directors of the Delphi Automotive Company; a member of the Board of Trustees of The MITRE Corporation; and a member of the Board of Advisors to the Mitchell Family Businesses.

Nick served as a Senior Fellow at the Kauffman Foundation from 2009-2012. In 2010, Nick became a member of the U. S. Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board (SEAB) (and ultimately its co-chair), and the Penn State School of International Affairs External Advisory Board and the Workforce Opportunity Services Academic Advisory Board. In 2011, he became a member of the Atlas Research Board of Advisors, a member of the Sproxil Board of Directors, and a member of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees. Further, in 2011, Nick was appointed by Governor Malloy to the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education (and now serves as its Chairman), and was appointed chair of a special committee of advisors by Governor Shumlin of VT to review the relationship between UVM and the State of VT.

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